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EMDR telehealth tools

The most common questions I get asked regarding EMDR and telehealth are regarding BLS. BiLateral Stimulation or BLS is the term for stimulation that alternates on each side of the body. Originally eye movements were *the* BLS (hence the original name Eye Movement Desensitization or EMD) and they remain the most studied form. As research continued and more providers got trained there was more experimentation and adaptation. We now know that it isn't the eyes themselves that are key, but rather each side of our brain being stimulated/activated in an alternating pattern, and that there are many effective ways to achieve this.

The variety of options has made EMDR much more accessible not only for telehealth but also for individuals who prefer an alternative to eye movements. Most of my clients prefer using electronic tappers or buzzies, or self-tapping such as the Butterfly Hug. What's important is that the client feels comfortable and that the method(s) they choose works for them. Below I'll review the options that I use for telehealth in my practice.


There are multiple ways to self-tap. The most common are alternating taps to knees or legs, and the butterfly hug. The only things that really matter are that it feels comfortable (physically and emotionally) for you, and that it alternates the 2 sides of your body. The following video is a great introduction to the butterfly hug:

Handheld Tappers/Buzzies

There are multiple companies who sell tappers for use in EMDR. The ones I have used the most and recommend to anyone that wants to buy their own set are TheraTappers. They're relatively affordable, have a great range of adjustments to intensity, and batteries last forever. I've used them since I got trained in 2019.

I also purchased a pair of Bi-Tapps, which use bluetooth so you can control them with a mobile device or remotely, but I found them a bit frustrating to set up and troubleshoot. They're also significantly more expensive.

Another option, if you have a Nintendo Switch console, is Sero Health. This turns the Switch controllers into tappers.

There are some other tapper options that I either haven't used personally or did and found them unwieldy and not suited for home/self use.

Eye Movements and/or Audio Tones

I use Bilateral Base for visual and audio options. It has an easy to use interface with integrated video and saves the BLS preferences for each client. You can adjust multiple variables for eye movements and audio including type of sound, speed, volume etc.

If you prefer this option there's nothing you need to sign up for, I will create you as a client and send you a link to your dedicated video room.



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